Many contracts have an excess, which must be paid no matter what damage occurs to your car. You have to pay it because you have entered into a legal contract where you have agreed to pay the initial amount of any insurance claim. However, if you were not at fault, you can claim back any excess from the other party’s insurance company. Consequently you may lose part of the your ‘no claims discount’.
Making the claim
Write down the details of the accident as soon as you can. Tell your insurance company as soon as you can about it, many have a 24-hour helpline. Keep safe all documents that are relevant to the claim, make sure you keep all receipts and that you photocopy any correspondence that is associated with your claim and make sure the staff of the insurance company can get in touch with you when necessary.
What you can claim for
You can make a claim following an accident, if the other driver was fully or partially responsible, for:
- Repairs to your vehicle
- Your Insurance Policy excess
- Loss of earnings
- Damage to your property
- Transport costs, such as taxi fares, or the reasonable cost of hiring a vehicle
- Personal injury
You should expect to be sent an accident report form, however, some insurance companies are happy to take all of the details over the telephone, but most will send you an accident claim form to complete. If you’re asked to fill one in, provide as much information as you can. Include details of the accident, theft or fire and any information you can about third parties involved and their insurers. In the case of an accident you will be asked to give a sketch of the incident and if you have taken photographs provide these too, so if you have a camera phone, make use of it. It is important that you take the opportunity to ask the insurer exactly what they require you to do and what evidence they will be expecting from you to support your claim.
Never take your car in for repairs without authorisation from your insurance company who will most likely recommend a garage. Your insurance company needs to agree to pay your car repair costs so, until then, any repair costs are your responsibility. You should get concrete conformation about the state of your insurance claim before proceeding with any repairs to your car. Remember that you will be required to pay the agreed level of excess even if your insurer will meet the repair costs, and this payment will normally be made straight to the garage which repairs your car. Always get concrete confirmation about the state of your insurance claim before proceeding with any car repairs.
What if your claim is rejected?
First of all check the policy. Ask your company to identify specifically the clause of the contract on which they are rejecting your claim. If you do not have a current policy make sure they supply one. There are circumstances where you may in fact have the legal right to be reimbursed for your loss even though the insurance company is refusing to pay the claim. Ideally it is best to get some legal advice in this situation.
The whole claims procedure will be much quicker if you follow your insurer’s recommendations fully, and they can deal with the car repairer directly. Your insurance company may also provide a courtesy car while your vehicle is being repaired, subject to your level of cover.
Always make sure you are fully covered in case you do have an accident. See just how much money you could save on your car insurance with Churchill.